The jewel in Yorkshire’s crown

Beef dripping and whale bones may not seem very PC or forward-thinking for 2013, but they provide one huge trawler-load of charm in Whitby. Often called the sparkling jewel in North Yorkshire’s crown, Whitby is pulling rank on some seriously beautiful areas and topping the poll in one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in the country. So what is so good about it?

Though dotted with a few obligatory arcade centres, and always awash with crowds of tourists even on the coldest of winter days, Whitby has somehow managed to keep its unique charm over the years. This coastal resort has something in its character that other towns, such as Scarborough and Bridlington, lack, and that has given it an immeasurable reputation among its seaside peers.

But that’s not all. Whitby has historically been, is now, and always will be, a fishing town. Although the number of trawlers has visibly deteriorated over the years you will still see the odd fisherman in full waterproofs kicking around. And why am I so confident they’ll always be around? That’s simple – the global pull of the fantastic Magpie Cafe relies on them.

Situated in the centre of Whitby the Magpie Cafe – in my opinion – produces the freshest and best fish and chips you will find anywhere in the UK. You certainly won’t find the acrid smell of dirty oil lingering around this fantastic restaurant, and that’s because they don’t use oil. They cook fish and chips they way they should be cooked: in beef dripping. It may be unfashionable to some, but it’s tradition – and it’s tasty!

Add the freshness of the fish which comes into port less that 10 metres away, and locally-sourced potatoes, and you have a winning combination, one that’s clearly gone global. I can’t remember the last time I visited and didn’t hear an American or Canadian accent in the often very lengthy queue!

The Magpie WhitbyAlthough some strange EU law is probably responsible for the fact we don’t eat them out of newspaper these days, one thing they can’t ban is the ability for us to eat our fish and chips outside. So visitors to the Magpie Cafe often take the short walk up to the famous – and, frankly, unmissable – whalebones at the top of the hill that overlooks the port. The mass of wooden benches that can be found there really is the best place to eat this culinary delight, with fresh air multiplying the amazingly evocative smells of fish, fried potato and vinegar that fill the air. Anyone on the hill who isn’t eating fish and chips will immediately find themselves craving some!

So, I would urge anyone to find out for themselves what Whitby and the Magpie Cafe have to offer. Which is all the best of North Yorkshire, and some of the best food there is around. Whether you be superstitious or not, in this case it is far from one Magpie for sorrow; it’s very much one for culinary joy.

If my ramblings on the wonderful world of Whitby have made your mouth water for a spot of fish and chips at the Magpie, where should you stay on your visit? Well, that’s simple: you need to hunt down a traditional Yorkshire cottage and make the most of all the town has to offer. Thankfully, we have the answer in the form of a self catering cottage in Whitby. Shoreline Cottages have an exceptional portfolio of Holiday Cottages covering the entire Whitby region. Check out

Click here for more restaurant reviews.